Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India by Chitra Soundar (review)
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Reviewed by
Soundar, Chitra, ad. Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India; illus. by Frané Lessac. Candlewick, 2017 26p
ISBN 978-0-7636-9274-2 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 4-8 yrs

After Pattan and his wife, Kanni, find an ailing flower and decide to plant it in front of their hut, they’re startled when it yields an ever-growing pumpkin so large it seems it might one day be as tall as a mountain. When torrential rains begin falling without an end in sight, Pattan realizes the giant pumpkin just might save their lives. With Kanni, he gathers all the animals, bugs, plants, saplings, and seeds—no one and nothing can be left behind—and together they float to safety in the belly of the hollowed-out pumpkin. Based on a traditional South Indian tale told by the Irula people, this rendition includes engaging text with emphasis and emotion conveyed through accented and stylized fonts and richly saturated gouache illustrations. While the vibrant full-bleed illustrations make the book a wonderful selection for a readaloud, it also lends itself to being shared in a small group of readers as the aesthetic details of the text may be better noticed and appreciated this way. A thoroughly detailed author’s note provides important source information, including details about the folktale’s geographic and cultural roots.

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